More than ever, consumers use social media to spread the word about the brands they like and perhaps more importantly, those they don’t. One of the biggest challenges for organizations today is managing this flow of information about their brands, products and services that occurs in social media channels.
The introduction of each new media channel changes the landscape, often dramatically, and organizations need to adjust quickly to stay ahead of the curve.
To help achieve that goal, some organizations adopt formal processes that structure how their contact centers organize, distribute and analyze the information they collect from many channels.
The groundswell of customer social activity is both a blessing and a curse for businesses: it gives you invaluable feedback to become more effective and closer to your customer, but it also takes time to make sure you participate in the right conversations.
Mining for Social Media Gold
To survive and thrive in this connected world, you must mine — not just monitor — these conversations to respond and glean insights that will inform your future strategy. We think of designing a system to distribute work into the contact center as a six-stage process:
- Gathering information from the different social media streams, such as Tweets, blog posts and other communications.
- Sifting through the various social media feeds to identify important items that merit further attention. For example, “my WizBang product isn't working, and I can’t figure out what’s wrong with it — can you help?” This is an important step to save valuable agent time: roughly only 1 to 10 percent of social media comments need some kind of action.
- Integrating social media into the activity stream that is going into the contact center to enable response to tweets, blogs, posts on forums, comments and so on. Your goal is to turn social media into a standard form of media that contains the “verbatim” information and the exact location of the item so that any contact center agent can work with it and respond instantly.
- Matching the item to the right contact center agent who can provide resolution in the most appropriate, efficient manner possible.
- Measuring the effectiveness of social media activity, both in terms of customer responses and satisfaction.
- Improving your agents’ social media knowledge and the flow of operations continuously. Each company has their own processes for responding with the contact center. The trick is to leverage the existing process with this new flow of information to get the best results. Companies like Avaya have patented predictive algorithms that can help you match agents and keep workflows level.
Each company has their own processes for responding with the contact center. The trick is to leverage the existing process with this new flow of information to get the best results. Then it’s time to engage with the customer.
Social Media is a Two-Way Street
The effect of becoming involved with social media is like that of turning on an old water faucet. When the flow begins, it’s murky with the negative noise from detractors. But if you engage them, take the criticism and make the effort to respond, the bad vibes begin to decrease dramatically.
Social media is a two-way street. Along with addressing what’s being said about you, you can create greater trust and sense of community by being interested in what others are doing. For example, you can also circulate news generated by outsiders through re-tweeting, liking or commenting on other people’s content as a corporate user.
The growth of social media is a driving force in the evolution of contact centers that incorporate a suite of capabilities that includes a multimedia, multichannel and open core for work distribution, designed to incorporate all forms of content in a real-time, collaboration framework. Most businesses today are just beginning to tackle this evolution.
Even today, if someone unleashes a tirade on Twitter, the contact center representative fielding it likely won’t understand the entire situation. But the tools available today leverage a special algorithm to flag the item and direct it to a representative who previously dealt with and communicated with the individual, or to get it to the right expert anywhere in the business. This algorithm can provide context to the dialog and turns your Contact Center into the Next Gen Context Center!
There’s no doubt about it, the future holds promise for synchronizing channels and responses — with companies providing various paths to get there. With the right tools and the right approach to social in the contact center, companies can truly mine for chances to engage with their customers and turn an overwhelming social landscape into a tremendous opportunity.
Title image courtesy of NattyPTG (Shutterstock)
Editor's Note: Read more about the changing face of contact centers here.
About the Author
Laura Bassett is the Director of Marketing for Avaya’s Customer Experience Management and Emerging Technologies groups, overseeing business planning & strategy, product marketing, and sales enablement for next generation solutions. Her co-author for this piece was Paul Dunay
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